Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Year's Overhearings

Sorry to report that the great tradition of English linguistic foolishness didn't end with the ball drop at Times Square.

This time, I'm finally tattling on myself first, instead of on other people. I know! Lil' ol' me? I never make these faux pas.

Honey was in the family room sitting at the computer Saturday morning, presumably looking at flight availability. I was in the kitchen listening to my favorite radio programs on NPR. He hollered to me,
How do you spell 'Phoenix'?

I had no idea that was what he was asking me. I was listening intently to Carl Kasell and Paula Poundstone and Roy Blount exchanging snippets of hilarious anti-political, andti-mainstream- media banter in the "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" quiz.

I thought he said, instead,
How do you spell 'Kleenex ® '?

Not a bit taken aback that Honey would have a reason for spelling such a thing (a grocery list, perhaps?), I proceeded to spell it for him. K-L-E-E-N-E-X. The Tyke cracked up.

And one more. This recently in from a frequent contributor, a mom friend:
We were making tea with hot water from our new tea pot this afternoon. Mine had been steeping for a while and I noticed Daughter's was still on the counter. I called her into the kitchen to get it and said, "It'll be pretty strong." She said, "It's good when it's steeper." I asked, "Don't you mean stronger?" She said, "No, you don't strong your tea, you steep it." Hard to argue with that logic even if it really doesn't make any sense.....

And, finally, I'm going to tattle on myself again. A while ago I wrote a Pedantic Rant about a pseudo-construction that drives me mad. Well, the other day I caught myself saying to myself in my mind the following as I was picking a morsel of detritus up off the floor:
I picked something up off the floor that I didn't know what it was.
That's exactly the construction the Rant was about! Help me!

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